TIZI-OUZOU, Algeria — Eleven Christians sentenced for “unauthorized worship” have received a lower penalty upon appeal.
Morning Star News reported the group originally received suspended sentences of six months and a fine of 200,000 dinars ($1,380) each. The April 28 ruling on the appeal decreases the fine portion of the sentence to 100,000 dinars ($690).
The 11 individuals and a French guest speaker were jailed after Tizi-Ouzou police raided the gathering Dec. 4, 2021. Upon their release, the French visitor was ordered to leave Algeria, according to Morning Star.
No applications approved
Algeria’s Law 06/03 mandates that non-Muslims have official permission to worship in designated buildings, but the advocacy group Middle East Concern said the government has approved no applications for permission.
The state religion of Algeria is Islam; 99% of the population is Muslim.
In the last four years officials have sealed 16 Protestant churches and ordered several others to close, Morning Star said, quoting MEC. Some Christian leaders have been prosecuted for “blasphemy” and “proselytizing,” and three Christians are in prison.
Algeria is No. 22 on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.
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